Voices From The Readers – February 1, 2019

Voices From The Readers – February 1, 2019

Big Tech’s Impact On Jobs Needs Attention


I wonder if we as a nation are capable of learning from the past.

While politicians in our Nation’s Capital play tit-for-tat over just about everything, there are important issues that need to be addressed.

An issue that is of particular concern to me is what technological advances are likely to do to the employment picture in the United States.

We know that one of the main contributors to the despair and hopelessness that fueled the Opioid Crisis was lack of employment in traditionally blue-collar jobs – these jobs went “overseas” or were just eliminated due in part to trade agreements and environment regulations (such as closing of the coal mines).

The next big tech break-through appears to be “driverless cars” or “automated vehicles.”

Millions and millions of Americans, mostly blue collar workers, drive for a living. Truck drivers, taxi and Uber drivers, parts deliveries, UPS and Fed Ex and other overnight services, etc. I wonder if anyone in our government, or in private industry, has given any thought to what could be a tsunami of unemployment and its attendant hopelessness and despair. Is anyone finding ways to mitigate the damage to these workers and their families? Is anyone discussing ways to encourage transition to different kinds of work? We gain our self-esteem from work and accomplishment, from feeling needed. When the jobs go away and unemployment is rampant, despair sets in. The unspoken message is “We don’t need you, you have nothing to contribute”.

Although this technology is still in its developmental stage, I believe we need to start a conversation about this issue – because it’s coming whether we like it or not.

Please encourage your elected representatives on the state and federal level to work with private enterprise to address this issue.

Carol Frazier

Ocean Pines


Legislature Should Endorse Kirwan Commission Changes


I write this letter in response to the guest editorial by Chip Bertino, “What Others Are Saying: Education Changes Would Be Alarming.” Interestingly the writer discusses omissions regarding the state education funding formula while the writer himself has left out a glaring omission.

The Maryland Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education was established to review and make any needed recommendations to the state education funding formula and make olicy recommendations that would enable Maryland’s prek-12 system to perform at the level of the best-performing school systems in the world. The Kirwan Commission concluded that in order to determine what adjustments in the education funding formula are necessary that they must first define for Maryland what constitutes a World-Class education system.

In its analysis the Kirwan Commission learned alarming data that suggests not only is Maryland’s education system not globally competitive, it is also moving backwards. Our state was the only state in the nation where students performance on the National Assessment Education Progress regressed. In Maryland only 8% of all Maryland high school graduates, graduate with an industry recognized certificate. Maryland’s rate of absenteeism among students is the 10th highest in the country. And the list goes on in all of the ways we are not successfully graduating students who are college and career ready.

In response the Kirwan Commission has made a series of policy recommendations that include:

•expansion of early learning programming;

•resources to improve training and compensation for educators;

•enhanced career and college training aligned with the needs of business; and

•more resources for schools with concentrations of poverty so that schools where 55% or more are eligible for free and reduced meals will have resources to provide wrap around services to students and families through the community schools strategy and school based health centers.

Our students would benefit from all of these enhancements and more specifically benefit from career aligned training courses in our schools to introduce our students to tourism, maritime, agriculture, and other entrepreneurial opportunities. It is our job to communicate with the Kirwan Commission and our elected legislative leaders. We should voice support for a world class education and we must ensure that our unique needs as a county including our tourism business are considered when local wealth is determined and calculated.

The writer was correct there are significant questions that remain as it relates to the funding formula including the state and local cost share, the base amount per pupil, and how local wealth will be assessed. However, it is clear in the report that any accountability measures will not be implemented until the full funding is agreed to and passed in the legislature in 2020. Now is not the time to lament that these questions remain unanswered but rather to engage in the democratic policy making process and lay the foundation necessary not. Our kids cannot wait another year for us to act.

It is my hope the legislature will endorse the policy recommendations this year and provide funding to begin the journey to a world class education system for Worcester County and all of Maryland.

Joan Roache

Ocean City